Originating in Germany, Christmas markets have now become popular all over Europe. They’re the perfect place to get into the festive feeling with a cup of mulled wine, and pretend to be super cultural even though you’re actually standing in a town square in Milton Keynes.
Some of them really are a cut above the rest though, and this year we’ll be visiting the best ones. Have a read of what they, as well as others, have got to offer, and just see if you can resist…
There’s no doubt that many countries in Europe and all over the world have produced some great Christmas markets, but at some point, everyone ought to visit a German one. A city that is often forgotten in favour of places like Munich and Berlin, anyone who visits its Winter Fair will be wondering why it isn’t more popular.
Every year, Strasbourg holds one of the most well-known and largest Christmas markets in Europe. Benefitting from its proximity to the German border, the city’s stalls are the perfect blend of German and French tradition.
If you live in London and haven’t visited the Winter Wonderland, have you even celebrated Christmas? A festive treat right in the centre of the capital, Winter Wonderland features over 200 Bavarian-style stalls, the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink, and a performance of everyone’s favourite Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker on ice. It’s been going for almost ten years and is only getting better and better.
We all know Prague as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, but at Christmastime it really does itself justice. With two main markets taking place as well as several smaller ones, you won’t run out of things to see and do. It’s also definitely one for the food lovers (that’s all of us, right?). At Prague’s markets, visitors can watch all sorts of traditional Czech foods being made, with lots of roasted meats and sweet pastries to sample. Buy your extra large jeans now, you’re going to need them.
With seven different markets taking place throughout the city, Cologne is one of the most impressive German cities to see in December. As well as the main, more traditional markets, the city also holds an alternative market in the Stadtgarten, where you might find some more unusual gifts, and an LGBT market known as ‘Christmas Avenue’, open to all who are looking for something a little more upbeat.
This one might not be on your list, but it should be. Every winter the Kent town of Rochester travels back in time to transform itself into a Victorian masterpiece for its Dickensian Christmas festival. Complete with lamp-lit parades, Dickensian characters and guaranteed snowfall, it’s like walking straight into A Christmas Carol- hopefully with no Scrooge!